Anyone using BusyCal?

Hi everyone, planning to use BusyCal on macOS and iOS but wondering how do they sync between devices? Do they use iCloud for sync? or their own sync servers (which I don’t prefer).

Also, how has your experience been? I like fantastical but BusyCal also has natural language support and one time fee that is something I like.

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I would also like to know how everyone likes BusyCal. I’ve been looking at getting rid of subscriptions and would get out of Fantastical if I could find an alternative.

That’s spooky - I just came here to ask the same question. The bundlehunt deal looks good and I’ve grown sick of fantastical.

Is that like SetApp?

I’m retired but I used BusyCal and BusyContacts at work years ago. It logs directly into iCloud, Google, O365, etc.

The same way Apple Calendar can log into my Google Workspace Account.


"BusyCal is the most powerful, flexible, heavily customizable, reliable calendar app for macOS. It’s packed with time-saving features and compatible with all leading cloud services including Reminders, iCloud, Google, Exchange, Office 365, Yahoo, Fastmail, Kerio, Synology, Nextcloud, ownCloud and more. BusyCal also integrates with online conference solutions from Google Meets, Zoom, Webex and GoTo Meeting and recognizes much more.

BusyCal also supports Wireless-LAN sync for those that do not wish to use a cloud service for privacy concerns or to keep things simple. Share your offline calendars at work or at home over WiFi."

BusyCal - The Best Calendar App for macOS (busymac.com)

No, not like settapp. It is an app sale:

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BusyCal on the Mac was a worthwhile upgrade from Apple Calendar. I can’t actually remember why I preferred it over Apple Calendar but I did try to switch back a couple of times and remember that I ended up not doing so. (I don’t like using paid software if it’s not necessary, even if I’ve already bought the licence - mainly so that I don’t get hoodwinked into upgrading when a free option may do just as well).

That all being said, I’ve since decided that Fantastical is worth it for the much better iOS app than any other alternatives. I was using an app called “Calendars” on iOS because the BusyCal iOS app was so meh.

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Simply, I like BusyCal and BusyContacts (from same developer). Just more complete and I’m happy to pay an occasional upgrade price. If one doesn’t upgrade the existing version continues to work “forever” (but I suspect macOS and iOS changes in future may get in the way, but that’s life).

Recommended. Worth it? To me yes. To you? Dunno. Try it for the 30 day demo and decide for yourself.

I’ve been using Trello with the calendar view and due dates. If needed, everything is also synced to apple calendar through ical.

Cool! Learned something new about Tello

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I always fancied BusyContacts but balked at the price/value ration for me. When I noticed it on Bundle hunt I bought the set (contacts and cal) plus a years sub to Agenda.

Never really needed the features in Fantastical but this looked too good a deal to miss and so far impressed with BusyCal. I am trying to do more time blocking and CRM stuff hence the purchase.

Next is to move contacts and calendar to Fastmail (organising things for no good reason is fun)

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Plus, that power up is free!

What is power up here?

Power up is in reference to Trello.

I’ve used BusyCal for a few years, and I really like it. (To answer your question, it uses iCloud and/or Google Cal. It doesn’t require a separate account.)

I originally went for it because (a) it was part of my Setapp subscription, and (b) it had two way sync with Apple’s calendar (which at the time, not many third party apps had).

With that arrangement, I could set up an event with a Shortcut and then manage my calendar on BusyCal. Nothing has motivated me to change.

Well, okay, motivated me to spend money on a switch. Shiny New App syndrome doesn’t count. :slight_smile:

(Long time reader, first time poster.)

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I did the same thing (re the Bundlehunt sale). I love Agenda, and Scotty J’s automations for it are the bomb.

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I’ve been a long-time user of BusyCal, and thoroughly enjoy it.

It has a lot of similarities to Fantastical and pretty much the same feature set. I think the only thing Fantastical offers that BusyCal does not is the ability to send a meeting invitation where a person can select a time when you’re both free? (I use Calendar Hero or Calendly for that anyway.)

The major differences I can see are:

  1. UI. I prefer BusyCal to Fantastical. It’s not quite as “busy” to my eyes, and I find the month-view on the iPhone much easier to scan when I need to check what’s coming up. (Against that, the date picker for jumping to future or past dates is not good in BusyCal for iOS. Fantastical is far superior.) On the Mac, I can add icons to all my events, so every work event has a standard icon; every video conference has a corresponding icon (Zoom, Webex, etc), events like holidays have a plane icon etc. Visually, it’s much easier to pick out different events.

  2. Apple Calendar integration. On iOS, BusyCal signs-in directly to my Apple Calendars, whereas Fantastical will work through the Calendars signed in through the Settings app. It means that BusyCal will take one of the slots available through your AppleID for 2FA access to your calendars.

  3. Calendar sets. BusyCal on Mac lets me display calendar sets in a panel on the left side of the app, whereas Fantastical accesses them through the settings. I find it much easier to select different calendars, or turn them off for different visualisation, using BusyCal.

Last thing to be aware of is that BusyCal recently moved to a pseudo-subscription model. When you buy the app, you get updates for 18 months. After then, no more updates unless you pay a further fee for another 18 months. You can continue to use it as at the date the pseudo-subscription expires. It still works out a bit cheaper than Fantastical’s paid tier.

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I have used it for years and like it a lot … but I’m NOT a calendar power user by any means. As mentioned by others, it syncs through the calendars you sign up to it (iCloud, Google, others), and every 18 months you have to buy the new version.

That said, I really just think it’s a lot prettier than Apple’s stock Calendar app on the Mac. One nice thing it does is you can put your reminders in a column on the right. (I used OmniFocus till I retired, now Apple’s Reminders app is fine … though also not very pretty.)

I used to use BusyCal on my iPhone and (I think) iPad, but now I just use Apple’s stock apps there, they seem fine to me. (Again, I have a lot of calendar items but I’m not a power user.)

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I think it depends on the kind of work you do, and how you use your calendar. If you live in the day view with lots of daily meetings, say, and need to be able to track the minutes in a day, then BusyCal is not as nice as Fantastical (or the native Calendar app). But in my case, I mostly live in the month view and need to be able to see (with a minimum of scrolling) what is on the radar; what is coming up in the next day, week and month (I am a speaker, and book engagements months in advance and flights, accommodation, etc). For that kind of calendaring BusyCal is vastly better on both Mac and iOS. I like Fantastical too … but BusyCal gives me a confident feeling that I know what is coming up that I just don’t get from Fantastical. It lets me see the future in a way that I haven’t found with other apps. I love features like its graphics support (for example). Let’s say I have an engagement to speak at, Melbourne University in 2 months. I can drag the Melbourne University logo onto the calendar event and that logo is displayed in the bar at the top for that day (alongside the date) which means I can glance down the month view and identify an engagement by its logo.

Plus, it syncs with all your calendar data from iCloud, anyway, so you don’t have to choose one or the other. On days when I need a minute-by-minute calendar (i.e. day view), I often do use the native Calendar app.

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All good points here. I would like to add that BusyCal is the only app that offers extremely customizable, powerful Smart Filters. There’s absolutely no match from any other app including Fantastical when it comes to this. Smart Filters can also be combined with Calendar Sets to memorize your calendar selection. Switching between these is easier and painless compared to other apps with similar features.

BusyCal’s embedded editor is also easier to use as it’s always there, unlike pop-overs. The editor is extremely customizable as you can show / hide options you don’t need. The Task panel is also accessible in the same calendar view.

One more thing BusyCal offers is List View. I’m surprised not many reviews speak about this, but this is absolutely must-have for batch operations, batch scheduling, all your filter / sorting needs. You can multi-sort columns, show / hide columns and view durations across visible events. It’s amazingly useful.

Printing options are also vastly superior in BusyCal compared to any other app. I’ve also found that sync support for open source CalDAV servers is hiccup free, which isn’t always the case with other apps.

Drag and drop / editing / keyboard shortcuts etc are all better in BusyCal than Fantastical. I think Fantastical gains a lot of extra points on iOS for its elegant look, and that’s probably where BusyCal currently lags behind. That’s possibly why it gets under promoted than Fantastical but it seems the small team behind BusyCal is on top of things, crafting a very usable, beautiful app in my opinion.

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